The government has announced that there will be changes in the law that governs the Social Security Board (SSB) and said these changes are aimed at helping to improve the management of its finances.
In the Speech from the Throne delivered by Governor John Rankin
in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently, the government said it will seek to amend the Social Security Act to improve the general governance and administration of the Social Security Fund and the National Health Insurance Fund.
Management of the Social Security Fund was brought under the microscope during the Commission of Inquiry
) where it was noted that a $40 million grant was requested in 2020 by former Financial Secretary Glenroy Forbes and approved for specific elements of support during the pandemic.
In the meantime, the government also revealed that various other amendments are expected to be made to the principal Act to increase the current four-member Social Security Fund Investment Committee.
The government’s recommendations are then expected to be referred to the Board for ratification.
According to the government, the proposed changes in the legislation would provide for the Board to pay legal costs only in cases where rulings from the courts are not in favour of the Board.
Changes in the Act are also expected to provide for how reimbursements will be handled where the beneficiary has another private health insurance plan.
Bring back the certificates
Meanwhile, the government said it also intends to make amendments to the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations, the Social Security (Benefits) Regulations, and the Social Security (National Health Insurance) Regulations to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the social insurance system.
Director of the Social Security Board, Jeanette Scatliffe-Boynes, told the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) last December that the SSB continues to grapple with the issue of defaulters. She noted at the time, however, that the Department has been able to collect from quite a few of their defaulters.
According to Scatliffe-Boynes, the SSB continues to lobby the government for the return of the certificates of earnings and certificates of good standings which she described as a great help to the Department in collecting from their defaulters.